What is an Advance Directive?
By Senior Advocate Rick Law of the Estate Planning Center at Law Elder Law in Aurora, IL just outside of Chicago. Advance directives are documents such as the power of attorney for health care, power of attorney for property, and the do not resuscitate order (DNR). People primarily sign these forms because they want to avoid unwanted resuscitation and other “heroic measures”when there is no hope of recovery and returning to an enjoyable life. These are very important documents when dealing with Alzheimer’s disease because they are documents that allow people to communicate health-care preferences ahead of time so that when they lose the capacity to make or communicate their own decisions, their wishes can still be communicated. It is important to remember that an advance directive must be signed while a person still has the mental capacity to sign legal documents. Simply filling out an advance directive is not enough, though. There is a fine line between a powerful health-care power of attorney and a powerless health-care power of attorney. For example, even if you have a standard health-care power of attorney or a living will and get to the point where you cannot swallow, the medical professional will tell your family that your condition is not terminal, but “he is going to die if you don’t feed him.” This puts a tremendous amount of guilt on your family if they don’t know what your wishes were, and they will probably say, “Well, I guess we should put in the feeding tube.” Now, if you don’t have a qualifying condition in your advance directive, even if you have a normal power of attorney or living will, no one is going to take action to stop the doctors from putting in a feeding tube. Even if you never wanted to have a feeding tube in that situation, you may end up with one if your advance directive documents aren’t powerful. If you’re ready to start getting your estate in order and secure your assets for the “worst-case” scenario, please give our office a call at 800-310-3100. Your first consultation is absolutely free. We’ll let you know what steps you need to take, right now, to protect yourself and your family. Call now. Sincerely, Rick L. Law, Attorney, Estate Planner for Retirees. Rick was named the #1 Illinois elder law estate planning attorney by Leading Lawyer Magazine. He has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, AARP Magazine, TheStreet.com, and numerous newspapers and articles. Rick is the lead attorney for Law Elder Law, LLP, focusing in Estate Planning, Guardianship, and Nursing Home Solutions. His goal is to give retirees an informed edge when it comes to dealing with an uncertain future. Get flexible retirement strategies that work during good times and bad, plus information on how you can save your home and assets from being used to pay for long term care. Call 800-310-3100 for your free consultation now!